Monday, 1 June 2009

Last Blog - reflections and Stat’s

It’s now two days since we finished the ride, and I have had a little time to relax and reflect. Looking back, the cycling itself was not that taxing, yes there were some almighty hills and yes 92 miles in one day fully loaded is a long way, however I had trained really hard and was in pretty good shape for what was ahead. I was able to get to each bed and breakfast without being completely knackered, although sometimes a little tired. The thing, which made it much harder mentally and ultimately physically, was the weather, which if you have read the blogs below you will appreciate was not very good.

Notwithstanding the hardships the weather created, I can honestly say that I enjoyed every minute of it. And I could not have done it with a better travelling companion; we did not have one cross word the whole trip.

The last day ended up being a little hectic, as we had to get back ASAP. The journey home would not have been possible without the help of Will, who drove all the way from Fort William, met us then drove us to Inverness to catch our plane to Bristol. Cheers Will, you are a star.

The final stats

Distance 1006 miles
Time 84:23 in the saddle.
Calories 66225
Ascent 50674 and thus 50674 descent
Max speed 43 mph
Average speed 12.3 mph

Lasting impressions. How much countryside there is between LE and JOG. It’s quite easy to avoid major built up areas, and even possible to pick green routes right through the centre of major conurbations. I was dreading Warrington, but the route we chose was very pleasant. The cycle ways are excellent.

The state of the roads overall are terrible as are many of the cycle ways. The clear exceptions are cycle ways in Scotland which go on for miles are perfectly flat, many pretty new, but seemingly go from nowhere to nowhere and are thus unused except by long distance cyclists who happen to find them as they are not signposted. Other good cycle ways are those going into Preston, Lancaster and Carlise.

Litter – it is evident that we are a nation of litterlouts. I can’t recall one place that we stopped be it in a town centre or in the middle of no-where where there was not any litter. I expect that a lot of it is from people doing long distance cycle rides, as there were hundreds of lucozade sport bottles. Come on guys, take your litter with you.

Pros of the trip – my travelling companion, the experience, the support of my family back home, the amount of sponsorship I have raised (last count was £4300 and rising). Lovely people in B and B’s along the way and Andrew's cousins in Glastonbury and Monmouth, and Will in Fort William who met us in JOG with a glass of bubbles, then drove us all the way to Inverness airport.

Cons of the trip – the weather (which also added to the challenge and experience – so possibly a pro as well), tractor drivers, logger drivers, women in 4X4’s and young blokes in red cars. Pot holes. Forty towers in Fort William. Leaving my family behind. Neck pain, some days very painful.

I enjoyed ever minute, but the cherry on the cake was getting back to my wife and three little ones.

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